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Descent into Darkhollow

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Descent into Darkhollow

Post by Ronson on Sun Aug 08, 2010 8:18 pm

An explosion tore through Nektulos Forest and shook the dark elf city of Neriak to its core. Commoners rushed out of the city gates in droves to catch a glimpse at the cause. They all knew that somewhere out in the darkness, their king and queen, and Lanys T'Vyl, the Child of Hate, were in the throes of summoning a powerful magic and defending themselves and Neriak against Firiona Vie and her army of Norrath's Keepers.

The throngs of commoners were soon ordered to make way as three troops from the Indigo Brotherhood, led by Sergeant L'Nev, marched from the city to investigate. The sergeant led his troops to the grove where Queen Cristanos Thex and Lanys kept King Naythox Thex, who was reportedly still unconscious and sickly. The war hero had heard the king was taken to the forest in order to save his life, but, of course, he suspected other motives. It was widely known that there was no great love between the king and queen of Neriak -- not that there should be. Their creed "Hate Above All" was certainly borne out by example.

When the sergeant and his troops arrived at the grove, a muffled wave of mutterings and whispers moved among them. Much to their surprise, the grove was wiped clean. A few looked behind and around them to be sure they were in the correct area. There was no sign of the queen, the king, Lanys, nor any of the ritualists who had been chanting and weaving magic. Much to the chagrin of the troops who had been prepared for battle, there were no Norrath's Keepers present either.

The sergeant noted the weight of the quiet that hung in the air and peered about him, the ultravision in his sapphire eyes piercing the darkness. There were no animals or insects scurrying about, and none were seen on the march to the grove. Where had everyone, and everything, gone?

And as the sergeant pondered the possibilities, a terrible shriek pierced the silence behind him.

Hours before, as the battle between the Dark Reign and Norrath's Keepers in the Nektulos Forest began to heighten, a finely robed dark elf female slipped through the trees. She stood behind the king and the ritualists who were entranced by the continuing chanting and creation of the Curse of the Bound. Queen Cristanos slipped from the shadows and stood next to the young dark elf. For some time, they waited patiently, calmly. And when Firiona Vie, the chosen of Tunare, and Lanys met face to face in the grove and clashed swords, the queen motioned quickly to the young female.

The nubile dark elf wizard, Vuzea K'Myl, moved forward until she was well obscured from Lanys' view by the great tree stump the king was set upon. The queen moved in close to her assistant and in a matter of moments, the queen, Vuzea, and the king disappeared into a portal.

In that same moment, the Curse of the Bound that had been in progress for days erupted in a way that could not be replicated by any other magic. Everything near the epicenter of the curse simply vanished in an explosion that rocked the entire forest from sky to stone. The Dark Reign army, the Norrath's Keepers forces, Lanys, Firiona, everyone, and everything . . . gone.

When Lanys set the Curse of the Bound in motion, she did not account for the creeping tendrils of Discord that still aimed to choke all order from Norrath. Even while being taught the curse by Venril Sathir, Lanys did not fully understand that when Venril set his curse in the magically protected dragon's nest, only a faint touch of Discord was present. That mere wisp of Discord was enough to turn Venril's curse into a devastating force.

Discord already had a firm grip on the rest of Norrath and in Nektulos Forest. It had become pervasive and thick as the Dark Reign and Norrath's Keepers armies bled and fed its strength. It turned and twisted the creation of the curse and when it was interrupted by the king being teleported swiftly away, there was a terrible reaction; an unknown reaction, and one that caused some of Norrath's most prominent heroes, both evil and good, to vanish.

From his royal oaken bed, varnished with a blood lacquer blessed by the Dismal Rage priests in the Sanctum of Hate, King Naythox opened his eyes, confused and expressionless.

"Ah, the king awakens," Queen Cristanos said. "It is good to see you recover, my love."

With the speed of a striking snake, Naythox reached out his hand in the direction of the voice, and grasped the throat of an aide that stood in front of the queen. The aide chortled and gasped as his windpipe was squeezed shut.

"Deceitful wench! I will see you quartered and strewn about this city for your betrayal!" Naythox yelled, his eyes still attempting to focus through an oddly glowing faint green. The queen wisely had him restrained when he was brought to the castle, expecting the very same reaction he now displayed.

"Quiet now and save your strength. I have much to tell you, the least of which is how I saved you from Lanys," Cristanos said with a smile. "Release my aide. He has been tending to you."

The king cackled and with one quick flex of his muscles crushed the bones of the aide's neck under his fingers. The lifeless body fell to the queen's feet. As she looked from the dead aide to her husband, she saw a vein as thick as cord draw a coarse line down the king's forehead as it strained and pulsed with a strange rhythm.

"You are in no position to make requests of me, traitorous wife," the king growled.

"Then, listen, before you will have me done in," Cristanos said. "'Tis true that I delivered you to Lanys. 'Tis also true that she had designs for you through an experiment with a spell that would see you as her mindless slave. As much hate as exists between us, that is one outcome I did not wish to see realized. We are united by our god and our mortality."

She continued, trying in vain to appear empathic and sincere.

"I soon saw the validity in your words -- the ones you spoke before that fateful sip of the poison I gave you," Cristanos continued. "You are right, my love. It is time for the Teir'Dal to take their rightful place -- to hold the reigns of Norrath -- without the aid or supervision of the spiteful and narrowly focused child of Hate."

The king shifted and was about to speak when the queen continued nonchalantly, examining the jeweled rings adorning her ebon-skinned fingers.

"And so, as fortune would have it, after I withdrew you from Lanys' clutches a great peril befell the child of Hate and Norrath Keeper's both. They are gone. Even that meddlesome chosen of Tunare, Firiona Vie, and her followers are also gone. I heard it from the very mouth of a sergeant of the Indigo Brotherhood."

The strained muscles in the king's face began to relax and twist into a grin that was sly and feral in some way.

"What do you mean, 'gone'?" the king asked.

"Disappeared, my king, and to where we know not, though scouts have searched high and low, across the Commonlands and the deserts of Ro," Cristanos said.

"It would seem the error of your ways may find some manner of redemption, but that does not mean you won't be punished. I've always admired your intellect and devotion to Hate and that might serve me now," Naythox said, and in an effortless fashion, he sat up and broke the leather restraints that held him.

Cristanos' surprise was apparent on her delicate features and she stepped backward quickly.

"Whatever has been done to me has done me some good, it would seem," Naythox said, examining the muscles is his arms and chest. He then looked up to meet the eyes of his wife. "I can say with confidence, there is little that could stand in my way now. Not even you."

Knowing the king would have already killed her if he'd meant to, Cristanos relaxed and walked to her husband's side, sitting next to him on his bed.

"I will walk beside you, my love. Not behind you or ahead, but beside. Treat me as your equal and you will have an ally that will aid you in ruling Norrath with hate -- drowning all creatures in its power," Cristanos said.

"My queen, you may walk beside me, but know that your life is mine. For appearance's sake and for the support of your faithful Dead, I will allow you your life . . . for now," Naythox said.

"That will suit me. And there is one other thing . . .," the queen said, with an undertone of reluctance.

The king's eyes bore into her, their hazy green glow even more apparent to Cristanos now.

"Something deep beneath us has been awakened. A great explosion shook our forest and the way was opened to a dark and dismal place, a place called Darkhollow, some have said," Cristanos leaned forward and whispered in the king's ear. "All manner of Norrathian now walks through our forest to investigate this new place and for a short time last eve our lands were overrun with drachnids. In fact, Sergeant L'Nev was the only one of his three troops to return and he may not survive as it stands."

At the mention of the drachnids, Naythox stiffened. He remembered being a child and running from drachnid raiders and vampires who would pluck dark elves from inside and outside of the city to be used to create more drachnid abominations.

"Strengthen our defenses at once," Naythox commanded to the guards that waited dutifully by his bed. "Also, speak to the Indigo Brotherhood guild masters and tell them to prepare a battalion that will inspect this place called Darkhollow."

He then turned and took his wife's hand, squeezing it tightly . . . too tightly.

"As for you, dearest queen, you will sit with me while I tell you what it is you WILL do," Naythox said. "It is time for the glory of Hate to sweep across these lands."

The queen offered the king a strained smile as she sat next to him, daring not to look into his tainted eyes.

And a great distance away in private quarters on the creaking and swaying Queen of Thorns on the Abysmal Sea, a weak and frail Erudite female suddenly opened her eyes.


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Join date : 2010-07-24


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